On of the most interesting trends in technology today is called biomimicry: engineers looking to nature for their inspiration.
The idea is that many functional plans in nature have been refined over millennia of natural selection, so they may very well work better than anything a couple of engineers can come up with. Some devices that have been designed in this way include velcro, more efficient wind turbines, AI models for electrical grid control, and better shock absorbers.
In much the same way, people who contemplated the idea of a flying machine over the centuries looked to birds first. This mostly turned out to be a mistake: propellers and jet engines are much easier to implement than wings that flap. However, some pretty smart people in France have now cracked this problem – at least in miniature. Leonardo da Vinci would’ve been proud.
Part of the solution lies in modern materials: even with a wingspan of about 14 inches, this drone weighs only 0.02 pounds. Yet it’s also tough, which is a very good thing: although a human won’t mistake it for a flesh-and-blood bird from close up, it’s lifelike enough to actually attract predators. The wings are also replaceable in case your drone does get damaged.
Unlike quad drones, this model doesn’t frighten nearby birds. From any kind of distance, you can easily believe that you’re controlling a real bird: the flight motion looks completely natural. You won’t be able to use it to film the next National Geographic special, though, as there’s no camera included.
As a nice final touch, the charger is shaped like an egg, with the drone perching on top of it when charging. This also functions as a power pack, which is itself rechargeable via USB. It holds ten charges of 7 to 8 minutes flying time each. Other, similarly-priced drones can stay up for longer, but you would hardly expect anything else considering the flapping propulsion. This also makes it much more difficult to steer than a quadcopter – luckily, the speed and flight modes are adjustable to help you get the hang of it.